Technology giant to create innovation platform, digitize medical services
Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia's most valuable firm, is planning to set up a financial technology lab and digitize public medical services in the Xiongan New Area, as part of a broader push to gain a foothold in China's latest economic zone.
The tech giant formed a strategic partnership with the local authority on Thursday, pledging to bring its cloud computing, blockchain and big data technologies to a variety of scenarios in the public and private sectors, according to a statement released on Friday.
Xiongan will serve as an "innovation experimental platform" to build the so-called smart society, and is poised to become a role model for digital upgrade, said Tencent chairman Pony Ma at a forum held ahead of the signing ceremony in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.
"Digital economy will contribute to over 70 percent of China's gross domestic product growth this year," Ma said. "We will use technologies to spur new growth momentum and help empower industries from retail to manufacturing."
Under the agreement, the company would also team up with six local hospitals to adopt artificial intelligence in disease diagnosis, the first batch of its kind following Tencent's recruitment in a national initiative that aims to lead the country towards global AI championship.
To be specific, Tencent will focus on computer vision and image recognition for medical diagnosis, combining algorithm models such as deep learning with the massive trove of medical data to assist doctors in accurate diagnosis and treatment.
"Tencent is becoming a key enabler of AI for digital innovation … as its strong cloud structure provides the essential building blocks for an array of AI works," said Charlie Dai, principal analyst at consultancy firm Forrester.
Beijing has called for deeper integration between the real economy and advanced technologies, including internet, big data and AI, and has unveiled a three-step road map with the goal of making the country a global technology leader by 2050.
Last week, the government urged the country's technology trinity－namely Tencent, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Baidu Inc－and iFlytek Co Ltd to delve into research of AI-powered medical diagnosis, civic services, autonomous driving and voice recognition.